Jesus looked at him and loved him. Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.
I took the weekend off to celebrate the completion of the school year and to just chill for a bit without the persistent shout of "knocking" at the door accompanied by "madam chelsea!" (In Ghana, knocking is a statement you make at the door not something you do to the door) I dearly love these children. I'm sure you all know that. But sometimes one has to take a chance to breathe, reflect, and rest. Since school vacated on Thursday the children are free--and are therefore continually wanting attention for one reason or another. I tried to get some cleaning done a the house on Thursday and failed miserably for the steady stream of interruptions.
I read the gospel of Mark this weekend. I was struck by the constant demand for Jesus' attention. I know there is no comparison between my life and the ministry of Jesus. There are not thousands of people following me from town to town wanting to be healed or expecting to hear me preach. My small glimpse at endless needs makes me more in awe of his patience and compassion that he displayed for the people. In Mark 6 it recounts how Jesus had tried to sail away in a boat to a solitary place. But the crowds beat him there. Instead of responding in exasperation in verse 34 it says that Jesus had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
Often times Jesus tried sneak away at times to pray, or to teach his disciples alone. It rarely worked, the people found him. It amuses me at the kids' ability to find me wherever I am on campus. One little boy came to interrupt girls devotional Thursday night because he wanted batteries. How he knew we were meeting at a different location that night is beyond me. I need to learn that practice of sabbath and solitude. Taking time away so that when I am working I am working from the fullness of God's love within me, and not my own strength.
In chapter 10 of Mark, the author tells us the story of the rich young man who thought he had it all figured out. He thought he had figured out how to follow God's laws, be righteous, be rich, and get to heaven. Until Jesus rained on his parade. As I was reading this morning I just stopped at smiled at verse 21. Jesus looked at him and loved him. Not because he had it figured out. But perhaps because he was so naive to think he did. I think it must be similar to how I reacted when a student asked if we grew the same fruits in Oregon as they do in Ghana. When I showed him on a map that most of our tropical fruits come from Florida. He asked if we had been going to "the down there" to get our fruit. I couldn't help but smile at his precious innocence. I wonder if that's not how Jesus felt. Looking at the rich young man and thinking. "oh my friend, you have a long way to go."
I'm quite certain that he must do the same with me. I hope he looks at me and loves me, despite my naive attempts at serving and loving in Ghana. I'm sure he looks at me and thinks, "oh child, you have much left to learn." But I sure am thankful that he is able to look at us and love us inspite of it all.